NY Daily News - December 29, 2015by Chelsia Rose Marcius, Ryan Sit, Nicole Hensley
Two people died after a five-alarm fire ripped through a Brooklyn apartment building early Monday, officials said. It took 198 firefighters over three hours to knock down the massive flames that erupted around 1:35 a.m. in the three-story Richardson St. building, just one block from McCarren Park in Williamsburg, police and fire department officials said.
Emergency responders discovered one victim dead on the second floor as they searched the scorched complex.
Firefighters removed a second victim around noon. It was not immediately clear where the second victim was found. Neither person was immediately identified but neighbors said two second-floor residents remained unaccounted for as of midday.
Police rushed to the scene when nearby residents first reported hearing an explosion, authorities said.
Theresa Vibberts, who lives on the top floor, said she was woken up by the flames bursting through her window.
"The first thing I heard was glass shattering,” she said.
“I was asleep with ear plugs, a sound machine, an eye mask, so it took a lot to wake me up... Through the eye mask I saw the flames kind of billowing into my bedroom."
Vibberts had to roll out of bed and crouch below the acrid smoke to escape.
"I had to duck down under the smoke, then I heard my neighbor banging on my door,” she said.
"He was screaming, 'We've got to get out! We've got to get out!'”
Vibberts didn’t have time to grab anything before the flames devoured everything.
“I had nothing but the shirt I was sleeping in, no phone, no shoes, no nothing... We ran out, ducked under the smoke and watched our homes burn."
Two firefighters suffered minor injuries in the inferno. They were treated and released at the scene.
Displaced residents in pajamas stood outside the building huddled in blankets as flames and smoke poured out of the top floor.
A fire department spokesman said the blaze started in a back apartment before overtaking the structure and partially damaging a nearby building.